130: Catherine Crowley is “The Herb Lady”
Tips and suggestions on growing culinary herbs in your garden.
Catherine, The Herb Lady, Crowley is a self-taught, hands in the dirt, Urban Farmer who experiments and researches constantly for new and interesting edibles and old favorites. She was given the nickname “The Herb Lady” when vendors and then customers at farmers markets would say “go ask the herb lady” for questions on herbs. It stuck.
Catherine has taught classes at various locations, private and public, including: Boyce Thompson Arboretum, with lectures, cooking demonstrations and events such as the Annual Herb Festival;
Desert Botanical Garden (the summer and fall of 2006 she was an expert consultant to the installation of the Herb Garden at the DBG); as well as various Corporation and Companies / Garden Clubs / Municipal Wellness Training / Public Education Events and other events private and public.
Catherine, wrote for the East Valley Tribune as a contributing columnist for over 4 years, on the subject of growing and using edible herbs. She was a regular guest on streaming radio with Ed Phillips at Arizona Almanac in 2005-2006. Currently, she blogs and writes an irregular internet newsletter on greening, gardening and cooking in the Valley of the Sun and also participates in the Mesa Farmers Market in Arizona.
In This Podcast:
Catherine shares with Greg some of her tricks that she has figured out for growing herbs in her garden in Phoenix. She explains how she learned about new herbs by asking her farmers market customers about their heritage, and how she experimented to expand her knowledge and skills. She talks about some of her favorites including nasturtium, stevia and Syrian oregano. She teaches Greg how to pick herbs for the best enjoyment and how to make a personal blend.
Listen in and Learn About:
- How she got started growing herbs to add flavor to a diet made bland for health
- That she started with basil and edible flowers
- That she learned a lot from others with different ethnic heritages just asking about their grandparents
- What she has in her garden right now
- Some great ideas for nasturtium leaves
- The easiest herb to start with for warm summertime and what to start with for cold weather
- Cilantro and coriander – why they are the same and yet different
- The difference between spices and herbs
- The biggest challenge for growing herbs
- Why you don’t want to pick herbs on cold, damp, overcast days
- Why she recommends that you harvest your own seeds rather than buying new ones every year
- How to collect seeds and how to store them
- How to grow annuals among perennials
- Density of planting and why that makes a difference in your climate
- What nurse planting is and how that works in your favor
- How she used observation techniques to improve her skills
- What she learned from a soil scientist and how some farmers are learning from the corporations
- How to determine if a particular herb is something that you will like
- How to make a blend that you will like
- Why the herb thyme is in almost all blends
- Why she recommends using rosemary before adding salt
- How she dries her herbs – big or small batches
- Her two favorites herbs – Stevia and True Syrian Oregano
- The history and flavor of stevia and how to collect and grow it
- Why Syrian Oregano is so significant and how she obtained it
- What her favorite uses are for these herbs
- Her current project is a 2017 month by month herb wall calendar for the desert southwest and deep south or USDA zone 9b and above
As well as:
- How she built failure into her garden journey and why she feels that is one of her biggest successes
- As well as the fact she can help people such that she can show people they can grow most of their own food and be successful
- And the concept of a mono-skill mentality drives her to help others to look inside themselves to find out what else they can do on their own
- And her advice is to not be afraid to make a mistake- just do it
Books Catherine Recommends:
Rosalind Creasy’s Edible Landscaping
Barbara Kinsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
Catherine’s Podcast Episodes:
How to reach Catherine:
June 16th 2021 Producer’s Note: We have been informed that Catherine has moved her gardening activities to the next realm. We will miss her presence in so many places. She has a wealth of information on her website and social media that is still available for the time being. Please be sure to take note of it while it’s still within reach. If you gained any inspiration from her work, please post a comment below.
Website and Blog: www.herbs2u.net
Facebook: Catherine, The Herb Lady and Herbs 2 U
Some of the links in our podcast show notes and blog posts are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase, we will earn a nominal commission at no cost to you. We offer links to items recommended by our podcast guests and guest writers as a service to our audience and these items are not selected because of the commission we receive from your purchases. We know the decision is yours, and whether you decide to buy something is completely up to you.